Autumn Leaves

Well the winds outside our window are picking up, and I guess this is the early part of the remnants of hurricane Gonzalo, which has caused a fair amount of destruction on the islands off America’s east coast, and is apparently heading this way. The trouble is that the leaves are still green on the trees here in the UK, which makes them top-heavy and likely to fall if the gusts get big.

A few years ago I was helping friends cut down a poplar plantation just down the road, and the work was started a bit late in spring, which meant that no matter how we cut into the trees the major influence controlling the direction in which the trees would fall was the wind, simply because they were in leaf and therefore top heavy. That was a tricky job, but I learnt a great deal about the influence of the seasons.

Right now we’re getting autumn winds. Quite right too. They’re nature’s way of blowing the dead leaves from the trees. They’re not unseasonal, unlike most of the weather we’ve experienced in recent years due to the very obvious effects of climate change. However, what is different is the fact that the leaves should be golden brown by now. It’s October. The Germans call it Goldener Oktober, I do believe. But the only trees turning at the moment are the horse chestnuts, which really should have changed in September. They’re always the first to go.

In a few weeks time it will be firework night here in the UK. Remember, remember, the fifth of November… Well I remember ten years ago we were watching the firework displays wrapped up in scarves, woolly hats and thick coats with two pairs of socks. It was always freezing. Cups of soup were served, and we’d make the soup last as long as possible just to keep our hands warm. Breath was properly steamy. These days we wonder if it’s even worth wearing a coat.

This weekend, the middle of October, just a week or two before the clocks go back, and the sun is shining, pub gardens are still full and the east coast towns here in Suffolk are enjoying a late run of trade. It’s hard to knock it.

But tomorrow evening the TV news will be full of stories of early hurricane damage. Sensational images of a cheap wooden fence blown over in Farnborough, a tree fallen on a car in Kirby Lonsdale, tiles missing from a roof in Romford, and a mountain made out of a molehill in Minehead.

I’ll admit that I certainly didn’t fancy taking the dogs out this afternoon, and they may be lucky to get a walk at all tomorrow. We are surrounded by oaks and ash trees in full leaf just itching to fall on me. And Tuesday will be even worse.

Anyway, sleep well.